Abstract Detail

Tools, Standards, Techniques, and Methods for Using Herbarium Specimens in Phenological Research

Meineke, Emily [1], Davis, Charles [1], Classen, Aimee [2], Sanders, Nate [3], Davies, Jonathan [4].

Herbivory through the ages: Herbarium specimens reveal effects of global change on plant-insect interactions.

Insect herbivores and their host plants compose much of macroscopic diversity. Yet, our understanding of how global change affects their relationships has been limited by a lack of data. Here, we show that herbaria can provide critical data on how insect damage to plants (herbivory) responds to climate change. We find that, for four plant species in the northeastern USA, insect herbivory has increased by 23% over the past 112 years, and we provide evidence that this is a result of winter warming. Because insect herbivory is important for key ecosystem processes—such as crop production and carbon storage–our results suggest that these ecosystem functions may also be impacted by climate change. In a larger study of twenty plant species within this same region, we show that species' phenological sensitivities to warming may affect how herbivory has changed over time. There is mounting evidence that, in the short-term, plant species that can track changing temperatures have a fitness advantage over coexisting species that are less sensitive. However, we find that phenologically sensitive, spring-blooming species are more likely to have experienced increasing herbivory over the past century, and this shift in herbivory pressure may reduce plant fitness over longer timescales, with consequences for community composition and stability. 

Related Links:

1 - Harvard University Herbaria, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, United States
2 - University of Vermont, Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources, Burlington, VT, USA
3 - University of Vermont, Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources, Burlington, VT
4 - University of British Columbia, Departments of Botany, Forest & Conservation Sciences, BC, CA

Climate change
historical data

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number: 0006
Abstract ID:128
Candidate for Awards:None

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